MaryLea Harris

Artist | MaryLea Harris, b. 1975

Biography |

MaryLea Harris lives in Bend, Oregon. She is a visual artist specializing in painting, mixed media, sculptural books and fiber arts. With over 15 years in the field of Arts Education, MaryLea has degrees in Studio Art and Art History from Sweet Briar College with an emphasis in painting and printmaking. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in painting and has authored 10 art education e-books. MaryLea created a performance art piece for the 2015 TEDx Bend event and was the featured artist for Simplicity Homes during the COBA Tour of Homes ‘15,’16 and ‘17. She was a featured artist in Cascade A&E’s April 2015 and February 2017 issues and was a Harry D. Forsyth Fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She has exhibited her work at multiple galleries across the country including Lubbesmeyer Art Studio during Art in the High Desert, LUMIN Gallery, Vista Chamber of Commerce Gallery in California, Franklin Crossing, City Walls at City Hall, The Betty Gray Gallery at Sun River, the Ellipse Center, and the Lee Arts Center. MaryLea is an active member of the Central Oregon art community. She served as the co-organizer for the Women’s Artist Group of Bend, was the youngest member of the High Desert Art League, is a current member of the Bend Boss Babes, a group of local women business owners, and shows her work regularly at First Friday events throughout Bend. When she’s not painting or driving her kids to school, MaryLea enjoys hiking and camping in Central Oregon with her family.

Statement |

Local contemporary artist, MaryLea Harris, specializes in mixed media and painting. Her whimsical and colorful images of leaves and trees are outlined in creams and whites to analogize the interplay between positives and negatives in space and life. She focuses on the interplay of space as she reflects on her own positive and negative growth experiences in the past few years. Her abstract work features brightly colored backgrounds created by layering paint and scraping it away with plastic gift cards. These cards are wonderful tools not only for scraping paint but also serve as a reminder of our consumer-driven society and how quickly we replace nature with man-made materials. Her latest Map Series is meant to explore our relationships between physical place, connection, belonging, and our collective personal journeys.

Her mantra: Authenticity > Perfection.

“There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in”– Leonard Cohen